Transformation: Barriers to Entry

To limit the introduction of new entrant Invasive Ideologies, the existing rivals, with their entrenched ideological production systems, must ensure that entering the competitive landscape is unattractive to outside groups. This may be done through explicit leadership by the largest ideological system, through direct collusion of existing systems, or implicitly through a similar response to a shared re-valuation threat. We should note that some ideological re-valuation efforts, feeling an imperative due to their Unlimited Sociopolitical Product, will ignore demand-side and supply-side barriers to entry; pursuing “missionary” work, cold sales, and consultative evangelism signals anyway. Any ideological system that treats evangelism with an imperative-based valuation, and treats rejection and barriers to belief as supporting signification, will certainly be an invasive mold, difficult to eradicate. In other words, if a production system views the rejection of its product as proof that its product is righteous, do not expect a simple resolution to your conflict with it.

                Supply-Side Economies of Scale – an ideological system enjoys superior supply-side scale economies when the entrenched rivals can spread the cost of belief-information production across several believers. The benefits of scale economies to supply-side ideological production are multiple: network pressure to participate ties combined will-to-power with social status in a virtual community, prestige economies arise to the benefit of reinforcing the ideological system, the variable impact of losing a single believer is very low, the ability to create larger spectacles, while the history of believers and anecdotes materializes at a superior pace.

Supply-side economies of scale deter new ideological system new entrants to the extent the new entrant must reach a large tipping point very quickly in numbers of believers, attempting to dislodge an existing system or disrupt the entire market of ideas. Whether perceived or actual, supply side economies of scale tend to produce two kinds of new entrants: one that employs disruptive new means of recording production to lower the price of belief, another that treats its cost disadvantage as proof of righteousness. When a belief system is willing to accept its cost disadvantages, its evangelism typically focuses on the ease of adoption in comparison to entrenched systems, which may give rise to a large but fragmented pool of Clerics who sell the luxury version of the ideological system to existing believers. When cost disadvantage is processed by valuation-signification as a proof of righteousness, this sets its believer network up for a recursive reflexivity in favor of extremism, conspiracy theories, and fundamentalism

Demand-Side Benefits of Scale – In the spread and adoption of a new ideological systems, demand-side benefits of scale are also referred to as “network effects” – for example, the first-signifier disadvantage of the original telephone networks was not exclusive to the cost of installation – the ability to have someone to talk to was important. We have seen this repeat with iterations of postmodern social media networks. In an ideological system in which participation and information is the only cost of belief, significant scale economies exist for established rivals.

Like social media network effects, we would expect to see a gradual homogenization of evaluable belief-products from tightly focused verticals as an ideological industry matures. This has the effect of limiting the willingness of believers to experiment with new systems if their Sociopolitical Product is incompatible with a more established system. This not only erodes the bargaining power of the new entrant system’s Clerics, it may cause an unintended evolution of signification for both systems – for example, the interaction of believers in a both Protestant Christianity and Psychodynamic Clinical psychology not only reduce the power of the Psychologist, because the spiritual minister has a moral high ground imperative, but repeated exchanges between the two create a populace rendition of both cosmology and psychology that has merged but “bastardized” both systems.

One might also note that this is the overarching claim that Marx makes toward capitalism as an ideological system – the network effects of continued specialization and decoding of economic flow benefits the consumers of the system at the expense of alienating the social element of the laborer; as an ideological system, this capacity to appropriate re-sell any other ideology makes it unlikely that any “corrective” ideological system can produce a limit on the maximization of surplus value of labor. Despite all the efforts of Cold War era clerics on both sides, many “believers” at this point may see little difference between capitalist and materialist thinking.

                Believer Switching Costs – When the cost of switching from one ideological system to another is high, a new entrant will find it extremely difficult to evangelize believers. Believer Switching Costs may be real or perceived – the need to change information networks, loss or “reset” of social status, and an inability to switch back after leaving the system create high switching costs. Moreover, sunk cost fallacy can play a significant role in Believer Switching Costs, especially when process addictions and coping mechanisms adapted to the believer’s current system are incompatible with the behavioral expectations of the new system.

Here we can account for the difference in religious ideological systems versus political, financial, or labor ideological systems. The lower the switching costs of the believer, the more likely we will find complimentary Sociopolitical Product imperatives. For example, the ability to gain prestige in both plumbing and water systems construction as well as electrical systems construction in both residential and commercial applications – the switching costs are limited to additional education, tools, and technology, while the value network, respect of peers, and ability to rise as a Cleric may actually be improved through the synergy of multiple belief systems. The higher the switching costs of the believer, the less likely we will see that the believer’s valuation-signification processes will include choice of belief within their design set – in other words, the recursive impact of signifying faith as an external locus of valuation control actually limits their capacity to even consider another religion. In juxtaposition with the plumber-electrician general contractor, we could imagine a Jesuit Priest leaving Catholicism to pursue Islamic extremism then attempt to return to Christianity sounds ridiculous – we would consider planning aforethought the choice to switch incompatible with “true faith” in either system. This gives us the most important element of Believer Switching Cost – any system that takes network-switching as a sign of Bad Conscience will operationalize combined will-to-power to reject Believers who have switched, possibly including their family in the punishment.

                Incumbency Advantages Independent of Scale – Some advantages may benefit incumbents in ways not available to new entrants, regardless of the scale of ideological valuation-signification production. These advantages may stem from geographically superior access to believers and new information, economic rents from possession of a sacred site or totem, easily recognizable believer branding, or learning curve advantages in evangelism can all provide benefits to entrenched rivals that new entrants will be required to attain.

Unequal Access to Distribution – when potential believers are sufficiently isolated and fragmented, unequal access to distribution will limit the spread of an Invasive Ideology and simplify the retaliatory maneuvers of an established system. Consider, for example, the continued strength and apparent unity of will-to-power exhibited by the Vatican in the control of Christian ideology, first relying on the Roman Empire’s political system then monarchies of feudalism that followed – because the bargaining power of believers was low and the bargaining power of Clerics was controlled by the Vatican, unequal access to distribution of ideas prevented a major schism (relying on rhizomatic spread instead) until it became politically advantageous for socioeconomic systems development (consider Henry VIII).

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